Monday, December 24, 2012

Grandmother's Ornaments

My mom gave me some xmas ornaments that belonged to my grandmother. I think I might have given her the bird ornament. The horses are very unique; I wish I could find out how old they are. I know my mom had some other ornaments belonging to my grandmoher, that definitely were from the 1930's or 1940's. I wonder if my aunt has them? Or were they were lost or broken?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Arm the Teachers

In the wake of the tragedy on December 14th in Newtown, Connecticut, some Republican dimwatts are seriously suggesting arming teachers. At first I thought it was a joke, but the opinion has been repeated more than once. 

As a person who has worked in a public school for 15 years, I've got a few observations and questions about the practicality of this suggestion. As is typical of many a politician who has never entered a school in his adult lifetime, or spent two minutes with small children, he's terribly misguided.

1. What message does it send to children? Aren't we trying to develop model citizens? Arming a teacher says to a student: "Little child, this world is such a goddam dangerous place, your loving, otherwise sweet pre-K teacher must carry a gun." Talk about scaring kids!. Do you think a 3 year old will feel safe with an armed teacher? Does that create an environment where children can grow and learn?

2. Where will the gun be kept? Will it be locked up? Will the teacher carry it in a holster? Will it be concealed? (Better not be hugging Ms. So and So) Obviously it would have to be secured, with children around. So what if the teacher can't get to the gun quickly enough? Does she have to bring it with her to recess, library?

3. Will teachers be trained to use the gun? How often? The teacher must be trained appropriately, so she doesn't misfire and kill some students instead. By the way, teachers already have copious amounts of training and ongoing education to attend to. How will this fit in? Will the government pay for it? 
 ( My school system doesn't even pay for some of the training I'm required to do now.)

4. What if a student gets a hold of the gun, and shoots everyone in his class?  If guns were available in schools, situations might escalate from swearing and desks being tossed over, to murder. What if an angry parent gets a hold of the gun? What if a teacher shoots a child by mistake, thinking the child was armed or dangerous? Having guns in schools would probably increase incidents of violence in schools, not decrease violence.

5. Do we arm all the teachers? That's thousands and thousands of teachers. Who will pay for that? Many schools can't even pay for reading teachers and tutors, never mind armed guards. If we choose armed guards, who are these people? How do we know the guard is mentally sound? Will they be trained experts, or old retired guys? Do parents really want some old guy with a gun protecting their children? What about all the day care centers and preschools? Do we have armed guards there too?

6. A school in Texas has some teachers armed right now. I'm not sure how long they've had the policy. The trouble is, some people think that guns solve all safety problems. Just because a teacher is armed, it doesn't mean he/she is going to stop a perpetrator. Many times armed guards at banks or clinics get shot trying to stop assailants. Often even trained police officers get shot trying to stop perpetrators. I heard someone make a good point on the radio. Jim Brady got egregiously injured by a gunshot, and he was surrounded by Secret Service agents! JFK was assassinated surrounded by secret service agents and police officers.

7. Finally if a person wants to kill a group of vulnerable children, or people, there's lots of venues to choose from, other than a school. Other community centers are vulnerable too. Are we going to have armed guards at libraries, ball fields, churches, supermarkets, malls, the Boys and Girls Club, and on and on?

Sunday, December 16, 2012

DNA Ancestry Results

Hordaland traditional dress- my grandfather was born in 
this area, but knowing him, never wore these knickers
Here are the results I received from Ancestry.com about my DNA testing. The amount of information given is somewhat disappointing, but the results are also surprising. I am more genetically Scandinavian than I thought. According to my understanding, I should be 25% Norwegian, but here I am 51% Norwegian. It occurred to me that Ancestry did not do a genetic analysis at all, but just went by the % of the family tree I submitted. I certainly have been able to trace more of my Scandinavian ancestors than my other ancestors, so is that why I'm 51% Norwegian? Hopefully it was a true analysis of my sample. I am Norwegian, Irish, and English.

My g-grandmother was born in Rathkeale, Limerick Ireland
Fortingbridge, England -where the ggg grandfather Pinhorn came from
Of course now I want more information, so I've ordered a DNA kit from National Geographic too. Hopefully this analysis will prove to be a bit more illuminating. For example, what is the 5% unknown?  

Places where ancestors were born: 
Canada 38%
Norway 35% 
England 14% 
USA 9% 
Other 4%
Area of Norway where most of my ancestors lived, 
particularly Lindas

Genetic Ethnicity

  • Scandinavian
     51%
  • British Isles
     44%
  • Uncertain
     5%

    My Dale ancestors emigrated from Cornwell, England

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

More Photos of NYC


Melissa and I on the Bus heading to Manhattan
  Jonathan took many other pictures during our trip to Nyc, so I'll share a few more.




A reflection of where we ate lunch


Mural outside gallery




into the night




Aunt Nancy's Neighborhood

Attack of Jonzilla

That's one sweet potato!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tidbits From NPR

I pick up quite a bit of information from listening to NPR. For the past several months I listen everyday, and now I've got a little notebook to jot down scraps of information. Here are some recent NPR tidbits, for further reference.
Premires in NYC Nov. 21, 2012

1. Ken Burns is making a documentary called "The Central Park Five," about the jogger who was attacked in Central Park in 1989.

2. Bernard Malamud's daughter Janna Malamud Smith has written a book called "Absorbing Errands: How Artists and Craftsmen Make Their Way to Mastery," about the process of being a master artist or crafts-person in this digital, fast-paced, multitasking world.

3. There's a new hiking and biking trail in development, stretching from the South Shore of Boston to the North Shore, called the Bay Curcuit Trail. 

4. I liked the sound of a band called "The Sail Away Ladies." 


5. I heard an interview with a journalist who works for the Washington Post--Susannah Cahalan. She wrote a book called "Brain on Fire," about her experience with madness. When I went to the Strand Bookstore recently in NYC, I found a signed copy of her book. Awesome.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Melissa Exhibits in NYC


In the room women come and go,
speaking of Kuligangelo


      Despite a delay due to hurricane Sandy, Melissa finally had her show in NYC at the Soho 20 Gallery in Chelsea, West 27th Street. The weekend after Thanksgiving Jonathan and I drove down with Melissa to NYC to see her exhibit, and tool around the town for a day. On Saturday morning we visited the Guggenheim and saw a fantastic Picasso black and white exhibit. We stayed at Johnathan's Aunt's apartment in the Bronx. Kudos to Aunt Nancy for her hospitality, and very warm and tidy accommodations. Melissa and I adored her trinkets, books, and decor. For Johnathan it was a nostalgic revisiting of youthful memories.

      We took the bus and subway into Manhattan. It was a rather cold and windy day, and we did our fair share of walking. We arrived at the gallery early to poke around. I selfishly took off to walk 19 blocks to visit the Strand Bookstore, a destination I've wanted to visit for years. On the way I went through Union Square, probably just missing my friends Eve and Stacey, who were also visiting NYC, and spending the day at an open air farmer's market. Stacey's dad had a stand at the market.

      I went to the Strand and a unique glassware and dinnerware store called Fishs Eddy. It was a shopping heaven experience, but I was also feeling kind of alienated in the big city. I headed back to the gallery.

all photos by Johnathan Donahue

      Meanwhile Melissa gave her talk to a small crowd of gallery tourists. Johnathan stood nearby, and Matthew and Jennifer arrived as well, but missed the talk. They enjoyed their own private tour afterwards.


Jen, Melissa, and Matthew


 

Melissa Kulig is a Waltham, MA based artist located just west of Boston. She and her loft are part of the Waltham Mills Artist Association.  The group, begun in the 1970’s, is very active in the local community.  Her drawings have been juried into many galleries including the Limner Gallery in Hudson, NY, the Bromfield Gallery in Boston, the Agni Gallery in NY, and a solo exhibition at The Artist Foundation Gallery in South Boston.  She received her MFA in Drawing in 2009 from The Art Institute of Boston, a school of Lesley University.   After working under Anthony Apesos and Debra Todd-Wheeler, she received an honorary scholarship from the faculty and students at her graduation.  She is a member of the Women’s Feminist Project and continues to teach art to children and adults as she’s done for the past 10 years.
www.mkulig.artspan.com

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Life and Times of a Bibliophile

Today the Harvard Bookstore had its semiannual warehouse book sale. Thank Goddess I remembered; I almost forgot it was happening until I looked on Twitter and saw a reminder. I looked forward to it all last night, sitting in my cozy, already book lined apartment, (reading on my Kindle- Ha Ha!) knowing that Saturday would include a productive day of top notch book browsing. 

You see, even though I shouldn't even buy one more book, a book lover cannot, should not resist the semiannual Harvard Bookstore warehouse book sale! It would be sacrilegious.

There are very few real bookstores left anywhere these days.so you've got to get what you can.

Finding parking in Somerville was not easy--- every geek and his goofy girlfriend was out, including wandering professors and other weirdos. I fit right in, and made a bee line into the warehouse straight for the Science and History Departments. (( Luckily there are subjects I'm definitely not interested in, like Math, astronomy, and cooking. I skirted around these shelves.)) History was packed, but I made my way up and down the aisle, skillfully practicing book browsing etiquette. Unfortunately some people would not budge, and I had to revisit. 

One criteria for not buying some books I saw was that I already owned several unread books on the same subject. For instance they had several great selections on Abraham Lincoln, but I didn't buy one. Abraham Lincoln and his generals. Lincoln during his prairie days. Lincoln and his depression. I thought of all the books on Abraham Lincoln I have yet to read. 

Good old Abe.Apparently thousands of books about Lincoln have been written.....

Meanwhile I overheard a man ask a woman: "Do you think you could read all these books in your lifetime?" (I sensed it was their first date.) She said "yes" and I thought it was a stupid answer. I thought:"She's just trying to impress him, or she's an airy head optimistic." They were younger than me, but still you can't read all the books you want to read in your lifetime. Maybe I thought that when I was younger, because I had fewer interests, and there were books yet to written! But I know now that unless you want to be a recluse hiding in your room, ceasing interaction with the world, then you can't read all the books you want to read.

So there has to be some other reason to buy books, or no reason at all. I know I'll never read them all, but I still want a collection anyway. Depending on my mood, I might read any one of them at any time, or even reread some. That's why I get old favorites, too, of books I've already read.For example today I bought "When God Was a Woman," which I read a million years ago. How can an arch feminist not have a copy of "When God was a Woman?" How can a New Englander not own Thoreau's Walden? How can a queer not have Truman Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's? How can a liberal American not have "The People's History of the United States?" The list goes on and on. 

The newbies to the collection:

A Listmania! list by cataylor122
 
Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals
1.  Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals by Temple Grandin





What the Buddha Taught
2.  What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula


The Book of Deadly Animals
3.  The Book of Deadly Animals by Gordon Grice





POPism: The Warhol Sixties
4.  POPism: The Warhol Sixties 





The Mind's Eye
5.  The Mind's Eye by Oliver Sacks


100 Selected Poems
6.  100 Selected Poems by E. E. Cummings


Eudora Welty: A Biography
7.  Eudora Welty: A Biography by Suzanne Marrs


Elizabeth's Women
8.  Elizabeth's Women by Tracy Borman


The First North Americans: An Archaeological Journey
9.  The First North Americans: An Archaeological Journey by Brian M. Fagan





When God Was a Woman
10.  When God Was a Woman by Merlin Stone


Every Day Life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony
11.  Every Day Life in the Massachusetts Bay Colony by George Francis Dow


The Tribes of Britain
12.  The Tribes of Britain by David Miles


Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women , Work, and the Family, from Slavery to the Present
13.  Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women , Work, and the Family, from Slavery to the Present by Jacqueline Jones



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Political Leanings

I took a politics quiz before the election. It turns out that philosophically I side most with the Green Party. I'm not surprised... If the Green Party ever had a chance in hell of winning, I'd probably vote for a candidate. In the meantime, Barack's my man. I wonder what it is that I agree with Mitt about12%?

Candidates you side with...

95%
Jill Stein
Jill Stein Green

86%
Barack Obama
Barack Obama Democrat

Rocky Anderson
Rocky Anderson Justice

12%
Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney Republican
68%

Massachusetts Voters

62%

American Voters
Parties you side with...
96% Democrat
95% Green
33% Libertarian
5% Republican

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Steph and Rosalie Singing at Molly's BDay Party


The Poet Laureate of the Fenwick Compound

Johnathan recites his epic poem in honor of Molly's 50th birthday party. 

For Molly

And as we solemnly wander in from the autumnal gloom,
myriad faces greet us and light up the room...
For tonight we celebrate, and eschew our sorrow -for very 
soon shall come the 'morrow, finding ourselves again alone... 
footfalls echoing in corridors unknown...

And in solitude, our minds doth fear 
to ponder the passing of yet another year
But tonight -tonight! We gather as one, and though it 
seems we seek not but fun,
'Tis in fact a bittersweet reality
 that we ponder the passing of half a century...
And what better subject to serve as our muse
 than Molly, sweet Molly, and not Thomas Cruise

For is there a kinder being on yon Winter Hill, than the 
 brown-eyed girl from Rockford, Ill.?
Annoyed she is so seldom, and though Christine causes 
bedlam in her life,
She remains her common-law wife....

And what love it takes to endure the foul -
the foulness of a dog that is moving its bowels!
In the misty morning on the top of a hill,
a frosty poop snagged and bagged by the girl from 
Rockford, Ill.

And what of Wrigley, that son of a butch, who chomped 
my shin and nipped my foot?
And with his sharp teeth glistening and bared,
Christine sat motionless, like a frozen LaClair

But in walked Molly in stockings and garters,
and took charge of the scene, but that's just for starters!
For when I was lost she offered a room and bed,
And though in the night she gave me no head,
I thought it neither selfish nor silly, 
understanding her proclivity.

But she gave me the strength and courage 
to move my own bowels from Extra Space storage, 
 loading the truck and giving the fuck 
I was not able to give myself. 
And taking my life down from the shelf 
Molly and Chris packed it all, 
for indeed they know something about U-haul... 

And tomorrow when our delirium has passed, 
and we find ourselves alone, aghast, 
let us remember this evening when the room was warm 
and our faces shone 
with the light that occurs when life becomes a poem, 
keeping comfort from the cold 
as outside the autumn winds doth blow... 

-Jonathan Donahue Copyright 2012 Poet Laureate Fenwick Compound 11/10/12

Joel Takes the Plunge

This is an old video from last year. It's my cousin Joel dipping into the cold November waters of Sebago Lake in Maine. He splendidly entertained all of us, plus greatly impressed his younger cousins Natalie, Gavin, and Zach with his antics. Now he's in the Air Force, stationed in Texas. On this Veteran's Day, I hope for Joel's safety and health, and think of the other members of my family that have served in the armed forces. I love how the video begins with my niece running off to retrieve her brothers for the show.
video



Saturday, November 10, 2012

What's in your DNA?

I have recently received my Ancestry.com DNA kit in the mail. Soon I will spit into a tube and send off my bodily fluids to be analyzed. There are other choices for DNA analysis, like the National Geographic option, that may be more detailed and encompassing, but I talked to a friend and she said her first and cheaper choice was the Ancestry.com offer. If the Ancestry.com results are tantalizing and bring more questions and curiosity, then I'll likely go for the National Geographic analysis too, and will probably try to get my father to submit. Before I get the results, I thought I would write about my expectations. What surprises might there be? What will unlikely be a surprise at all? 
Expected:
  • I would expect that about 60 percent of my DNA ancestry should be from the British Isles-- England and Ireland. 
  • I know I have some Scandinavian DNA. 
  • I'm probably all Northern European.
Surprises or Questions to be answered: 
  • Do I have any German ancestry? Was my great-grandfather on my father's side, David Miller Taylor, German? 
  • Do I have any Native American blood? Did my great-grandmother Jedidah Pinhorn have an indigenous female relative in Canada?
  •  Do I have French ancestry? Perhaps? 
  •  Can the DNA test tell me how far back my Norwegian ancestry goes? 
  • It would be a real shocker if I had Asian or African American blood, but you never know.  
  • Were my ancestors ancient Druids? 

I don't know if DNA analysis will tell you anything more than what you can research in documents. I suppose it should, since DNA should go back before people kept records. We shall see.....

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Odd Collections

I know that in the big scheme of things, I hardly have any odd collections, nor do I have any extensive collections. Space and my mother's practical voice speaking in the back of my head prevent me from going hog wild. I would like to collect hoards of victor Victrolas, teapots, antique phones, watches, salt and pepper shakers, old cameras, to name a few. But thank goddess I do not have an attic, or a barn, or a huge basement at my disposal. 

I browse Ebay and Etsy with a dreamy look on my face, but I deter myself mostly. Small collections, carefully chosen and packed away, have made the cut. I have already featured my black cat collection, and my various book collections. 

Here are a couple of my other small collections---cuff links, pez dispensers, and card holders. These items can easily be shoved away in a drawer, or contained on a shelf for display. 

I know these collections are not great in number, or very unique. These items won't get me featured in the World Book of Records, or the blog of weird collections, but they provide some small relief to the hoarding itch.